What is the School Systems Leaders Fellowship?
The School Systems Leaders Fellowship is a leadership development program that supports participants in cultivating the core skills—managerial, political, and strategic—to lead the charge in expanding educational opportunities for children from a systems level.
The Fellowship includes:
- A year-long placement in a district leadership role (Teach For America assists with placement)
- Six cohort seminars
- Executive coaching
- Ongoing School Systems Talent Matching support
Within two to three years of completing the Fellowship, participants will be fully prepared to undertake a school systems leadership role at the superintendent or cabinet level.
Why did Teach For America create this Fellowship?
There is a pressing need for more transformational school systems leaders nationwide. Learn more about the Fellowship in the overview tab.
Who is eligible to apply for the School Systems Leaders Fellowship?
Teach For America alumni with the following experience are eligible to apply:
- A track record of results and increasing student achievement
- Adult management experience
- A strong desire to be school systems leaders who embody Teach For America's core values
View of full list of eligibility criteria under the eligibility tab.
What is the minimum required experience in order to be considered for the Fellowship?
We do not require a minimum number of years of experience in order to be considered for the Fellowship. However, Fellows from the first three cohorts have an average of 15 years work experience with a range of corps years from 1990 through 2008.
We are looking for highly capable individuals who have a track record of improving student achievement outcomes, experience managing adults, and a strong vision and motivation to become a school systems leader who are aligned with Teach For America's core values.
View our selection competencies (PDF).
Find out more about who we’re looking for in the eligibility tab.
What competencies are you looking for?
If I've applied to the School Systems Leaders Fellowship before, can I apply again?
Yes. If you've applied before you are eligible to apply again.
Do I have to be nominated in order to apply for the School Systems Leaders Fellowship?
No. The application is open to all alumni who wish to apply.
What if I am already working in a district that is not one of the official partner districts and I'm unable to relocate?
If you are working in a qualifying role, you may be eligible for an “Already-In-District” Fellowship spot.
A "qualifying role" usually refers to a role with significant responsibility that typically reports to a district cabinet member. Each role will be evaluated separately.
Am I eligible for an “Already-In-District” Fellowship spot?
To be eligible for an Already-in-District position, you will need to:
- Be working in a qualifying role in a traditional public school district for no more than one year at the time of application
- Get approval from your district
- The district where you are working must commit to participate in all aspects of the Fellowship—including any weekends that Districts are asked to participate in, release time for their Fellows, etc.
- Meet the full selection criteria for the Fellowship
Please email email@example.com to discuss your current role.
When does the Fellowship start and end?
The Fellowship is a year-long commitment that begins in August and runs through the end of the following August.
What happens at final selection?
Activities will be varied and conducted in both group and one-on-one settings. Candidates will interview with a selection committee comprised of Teach For America staff, district leaders, and national experts. During the evening of the selection day, candidates and selection committee members are invited to attend a networking reception. More detailed information will be provided to candidates who are invited to attend final selection day. Teach For America will cover travel and accommodations for finalists.
How many Fellows will be admitted?
The final size of the cohort will be determined by the applicant pool.
What will Fellows learn from the experience?
The Fellowship will build fellows’ expertise in a variety of topics critical to success in school systems leadership roles, including:
- District strategy:
- Theories of action
- Analysis of current initiatives
- Linking strategy to the organization chart
- Management, leadership, and political skill development:
- People management
- Instructional leadership
- Community engagement
- Labor relations
- Project management
- Strategic career management
- Critical topics in district reform:
- Human resources management
- Strategic use of resources
- Education funding
- Blended learning
- Implementing the Common Core
- School turnaround
- Studies in transformational leadership:
- Exploration of the habits and mindsets of leaders who bring about dramatic change for students
What will be included in the Fellowship cohort seminars?
Fellows will come together for six cohort seminars in locations around the country. A significant component of these seminars will be immersive site visits to schools and districts to see promising models in action. Fellows will also be exposed to the foremost experts in the field of education and will participate in differentiated learning opportunities given their own development goals.
What one-on-one support will Fellows receive?
Each Fellow will have the benefit of working one-on-one with an executive coach for the duration of the Fellowship. This work will include the creation of an individual development plan, on-site visits, and regular reflection and problem-solving phone sessions.
What are the partner districts for the Fellowship?
View the full list of partner districts in the District Partnerships tab.
How will Fellows be compensated?
Fellows are full-time employees of the partner districts. They receive a full salary and benefits package from their district.
Do I have to leave my job at the end of the Fellowship?
No. Most Fellows stay in their roles once the Fellowship is over.
Can I nominate someone for the Fellowship?
Yes. Nominations and referrals are welcome and an important way we identify candidates for the Fellowship. Nearly two-thirds of Fellows from the first two cohorts came from nominations. To nominate someone, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You may nominate multiple alumni, including yourself.
Who do I contact if I still have questions about the School Systems Leaders Fellowship?
Contact us for the following:
- General inquiries about the School Systems Leaders Fellowship
- More information about applying to the School Systems Leaders Fellowship
- Partnering with Teach For America and the School Systems Leaders Fellowship to host a Fellow